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Star Light, Star Bright: The Story of a Wish Come True
[BK729]
$19.95

Star Light, Star Bright:
The Story of a Wish Come True
by Rachael Evelyn Booth
Xlibris (July 26, 2007) - Soft Cover 260 pages / ISBN-13: 978-1425775858

 

Prologue

It was just another warm, lazy evening in the summer of 1957. The air was heavy with the memory of the afternoon's usual brief but violent thunderstorm. The sun was just ending its daily journey across the sky, signaling the crickets to emerge from their hiding places and start their evening serenade. From somewhere in the distance a solitary lawnmower droned away at its weekly chores as a dog barked happily at some imaginary danger. A light, cooling breeze wafted gently out of the west carrying with it the bouquet of a nearby early harvest and, more importantly, the hope that this just might be THE night.

In the center of an open patch of ground surrounded by soft waves of golden wheat sat a young boy, motionless, peering intently at the cloudless evening sky. As he had all summer long on nights just like this one whenever there were no clouds to obscure his view, he sat alone, holding his breath, waiting for the right moment to recite the magical phrase he knew so well. As his eyes scanned the darkening heavens, his thoughts drifted back to previous nights when he had performed the ritual so he could try to understand what he had done wrong that had kept the magic from working. With five year old eyes, the boy searching the amber sky, oblivious to the world around him, with only one goal in mind: tonight he would get it right.

Finally, as if afraid to scare the moment away, his breath caught in his throat. There it was! Shining brightly through the deepening haze…the First Star! Time seemed to stop as he stared at the tiny spot shining brightly in the sky. The boy shared a secret kinship with this little star. Like him, it was totally alone, sharing its vast and empty world with no one and with no others like it in sight. For one brief moment the boy felt that the star and he were one, both understanding the emptiness that no one else could see or feel, crying out in desperation against the emptiness.

But this moment was precious and would not last long. The boy's breaths were coming faster now and his heart thumped loudly in his chest with a quickened, worried beat. With sweaty hands clasped rigidly in his lap and eyes closed tightly in fervent prayer, the young boy spoke the magic words that he had uttered countless times before . . . and that he would repeat for many years to come:

"Star Light, Star bright,
First Star I see tonight,
I wish I may,
I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight:

I wish I were a girl."

Shaking with both the excitement of possible success and the fear of repeating past failures, the boy slowly opened his eyes and peered cautiously up at the sky. There didn't seem to be any other stars visible yet. Maybe tonight he really had seen the very First Star after all. Maybe tonight would be the last night he would have to spend as a little boy. But there - just over there - was that a star? Had he missed it before or had it just now appeared? Was that one the First Star and not the one he had just wished upon so intensely? He hoped with all his heart that it was not. Fearing the worst and knowing that he couldn't perform the ritual again this night, the boy rose from his magical place and started back to the small house in the woods that was his home. There was nothing more to be done. It was now in the hands of the star and the magic that only it could perform.

 

The rest of the evening was like all the others, sitting in front of the black and white TV with his family in their rural Ohio home, waiting for bedtime and the magical transformation that somehow he knew would only come in his sleep. As always, the family knew nothing of the young boy's anxiousness or of his constant war within himself for peace. To them, just as to all others in his life, he was a perfectly well adjusted and happy little boy without a care in the world. That he loved to help his mother cook, clean and do the laundry and ironing was of no great concern. And since no one had objected yet to his delight in these tasks, he thought that he was justified in the nightly quest for his dream. After all, didn't all girls do the exact same things that he liked to do? Didn't his step-father shining even remark shining that he was doing girls' work? It was all very strange. He couldn't quite understand why he was forced to dress like a boy. He knew from changing diapers that his baby sister didn't have the little thing that he had between his legs and thought that somehow this must be important. He wondered if hers hadn't grown yet or if his might fall off soon. Maybe that's what caused his family to think he wasn't a girl. Whatever it was, it just wasn't fair. Little girls got to wear pretty dresses and bows in their long, silky hair. He had to wear pants and his mother often cut his hair so short that all he was left with was a mere shadow on his scalp and a little tuft of hair above his forehead she called a "pineapple". Realizing that there must be some unspoken Adult Reason why he was forced to live this way, and afraid of incurring the wrath of his step-father who didn't seem very happy about the chores he liked to do with his mother, he never said a word about his feelings to anyone. He figured that, when the time came, they would all realize their mistake and he'd be allowed to be what he was: a girl. But until then, he just had to continue with the Rituals.

Of course, through the years there was more than on Ritual. There was, for instance, the Water Fountain Ritual where, each day at school, the boy would watch carefully for any female classmate who seemed to be heading for the water fountain. As soon as he was sure she was going to take a drink, he would rush to be directly behind her in order to get the first drink after her and increase his chances of swallowing the "germs" that made her a girl. It just could be that, for some unknown reason, he didn't have the right germs in him and needed them to help the Star do its work. After a drink from the fountain that was slow enough to ensure that any germs that may have been left behind had time enough to get to him, he would look carefully at the water fountain to see if the girl had inadvertently left behind any strands of hair. If she did, he would snatch it up quickly and walk away, trying to place it unnoticed onto his own head so that it, too, could help the germs (and the Star).

These little Rituals, and many others like them, were designed to help as much as they could to show the Star that he was serious and would do anything to help it do its magic. All other things were unimportant. The Star must know of his sincerity. Otherwise the magic wouldn't work.

 

The boy went to bed that night after having recited his automatic prayers to the invisible god his parents insisted was there to keep him safe until the morning. After a goodnight kiss from his mother, he uttered a silent, personal prayer to this god to please talk to the Star and help to fix him so that he wasn't so unhappy.

He went to sleep in eager anticipation of his new life.

When he awoke the next morning, a quick but nervous check below the sheets proved again that nothing had changed. He ran his fingers through the long hair that still wasn't there and felt a little more of himself die. He hadn't seen the First Star after all. And god still wasn't listening. He wondered through his silent tears why god hated him so much. Now the Rituals would have to start all over. He didn't know how much longer he could continue. Bitterly disappointed once again, the boy got out of bed and began yet another of a lifetime of long and endless days.

That young boy was me.

 

This is the story of a life of struggle - of hiding, of fear, and of triumph. It is the story of a person born with a condition known as transsexualism, a birth defect that most people learn about through television talk shows where shock is the main goal and facts are few and far between. I intend with this book to shed some light on the human element of this condition, without the shock, without the sensationalism and without boring the reader to death with mountains of clinical terms and statistics. I've tried here to describe my life as it has been - heartbreaking, hilarious, cruel and enlightening. It is of the utmost importance to me to show people that this condition is real; that it is neither imaginary nor a matter of choice; that people who must go through this suffer a living hell. Some do not survive. They end their agony through the only means they know - suicide.

This is also the story of one person who somehow found the courage deep inside to face down society and do what she had to do to keep herself alive regardless of the very real possibility of losing everything and everyone she held dear in life - even life itself. I hope with this book to help the reader to understand this condition from a personal and emotional viewpoint in the short time it takes him or her to read it. For the sake of those who are struggling with this affliction, and their families and friends who are struggling to understand it, I hope I succeed.

Believe me, dreams CAN come true.

Rachael Booth

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 07 September, 2007.
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